Readers Respond to Rising Home Prices in Portland’s Suburbs

“Some people are willing to put up with car thefts and open drug use so they can walk to their favorite brunch spot.”

Last week’s edition of WW took note of a recent phenomenon: Median home prices in Milwaukie, Beaverton and Happy Valley are all more expensive than in Portland proper. A “doughnut effect” of people who can work remotely—and are no longer interested in experiencing urban grit—has home prices in the suburbs rising at a faster clip than in Portland. We gauged what $400,000 could buy in five nearby towns—as well as in the Rose City. Here’s what our readers had to say:

Steverino, via “I really wouldn’t count condos since HOAs go up faster than rent on these projects lately. Especially the older ones or new ones with construction defects.”

Salem City Councilor Vanessa Nordyke, via Facebook: “Housing costs are skyrocketing in Salem, too. The city of Salem is working with private and public sector partners to build tiny homes and low-income multifamily housing, redevelop the former Salem Nordstrom into apartments, and redevelop former hotels into shelters for the unhoused.”

Scrappymutt, via “Talking to people who grew up in Portland, they make it sound like the past twenty years were the outlier, and this city is returning to what it was in the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s… “Every city goes through its ups and downs. It is time to see who really cares about this city, and who runs away to the suburbs when things get hard.”

monkeyboy2311, via Reddit: “I’d wager a bet a lot of longtime Portlanders (like myself) are eyeing the suburbs while rich Californians are buying houses in the inner eastside. Some people are willing to put up with car thefts and open drug use so they can walk to their favorite brunch spot.”

Jesus Ann, via Facebook: “I have been looking in places like McMinnville, Amity, even coastal areas where the ability to make money in that local economy to support these sorts of prices is not really that possible. I was very surprised to see that even if I got top dollar for my house, it would likely be an even trade, or higher than what we have going on here. Remote work opportunities have their trade-offs. If you aren’t in a line of work you can do remotely, things might be tight, depending on location.”

Dot Halford, via “I live just ‘over the hill’ in close-in, unincorporated Washington County. What a difference a mile or two makes. You can literally see the main roads improve the second you cross the county line from Multnomah. Our parks are expertly managed by [Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District], a service for which I’m happy to pay a modest tax. If there is a security issue, the police will come when called and do so promptly. Mixed-race, diverse neighborhood: young Indian families, gay couples, old timers, etc. It CAN be done. I work downtown but minimize all my other time spent in Portland. I didn’t want it to be like this (I’ve lived in and enjoyed other major cities with all their complexities and issues), but the completely dysfunctional city and county leadership brought this on themselves.”

Kathy Maroe Peterson, via Facebook: “Same exact thing is happening to Seattle residents who want to move to the suburbs.”

Trey Witteried, via Twitter: “Not to sound crass, but tbh a hobophobia-driven flight of squares to the suburbs sounds like an OK way in theory to reempower the bohemian artist types that gave this city so much of its identity.”

LETTERS to the editor must include the author’s street address and phone number for verification. Letters must be 250 or fewer words. Mail to: P.O. Box 10770, Portland OR, 97296 Email:

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